Excited to announce The Society of American Travel Writers has recently awarded me a Lowell Thomas Award and named my article Sacred Water, (for National Parks Magazine) as the top Environmental Tourism feature of 2013.
What the judges said…
Gold: Kevin Grange, “Sacred Water,” National Parks magazine
“Sacred Water” is an important story for readers who plan on visiting the Great Basin National Park, Nev., with its 77,000 mountainous acres and natural treasures. In this masterpiece, Kevin Grange looks at the fight to protect the waters of the Great Basin for future tourists and those who call it home. With colorful language and detail, Grange’s real-life characters are full of drama. His story line combines elements of an old TV legal drama with a spaghetti Western.
“On one side you have the unlikely alliance of conservationists, ranchers, business owners and American Indians,” writes Grange. Together, they battle against the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which in this episode plays the role of big brother. Grange interviews Dean Baker and his three sons, who are fighting to keep their 12,000-acre ranch from intrusion by a massive underground pipeline that will siphon water from Great Basin aquifers and take it to Las Vegas. Grange paints a picture of Baker and his cohorts being reasonable people, protesting in hopes of maintaining landowners’ rights and protecting the environment. At risk are the park’s four stream systems, nine miles of stream habitat, 18 wetland areas, and 25 perennial springs along with a way of life, all of which will be affected by the pipeline.
Grange uses his pen to bravely take a stand in support of protecting the Great Basin’s ecological and environmental resources. He earns the gold hands down for a story that creates interest, anxiety and anger. It’s time to pack your bags and travel to see the Great Basin and all its glory.